How Weight Loss Is Like the Circus (Elephant-sized Epiphanies)
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I've been reading "Unlimited" by Jillian Michaels. She puts this story in her book:
"A father and his young son are at the circus. The son sees a huge elephant shackled with flimsy, rusted chains. Turning to his dad, he asks, 'Isn't that elephant strong enough to break free from those chains?'
'Of course he is,' his dad answers. 'It's just that he's been chained like that since he was too small and weak to break free, and now he doesn't know the difference.'"
Why did this story resonate with me? It made me think about my ongoing, life-long struggle with food. It began long before I was old enough to know about nutrition. By the time I did know about nutrition, my compulsive behaviors felt as much a part of me as any other characteristic or trait.
That familiarity used to trump everything. If it was comfortable, it stayed. Whether or not it was healthy. End. Of. Story. But one of the many things I have learned is that you can't undo an epiphany. Once you look down and realize that there are shackles around your ankles, manacles that prevent you from stepping away from something that no longer serves you, it becomes time to bend at the waist and release them. Sometimes the lock is rusty. Sometimes you use the wrong key. Sometimes it just feels like your ankles are too far away. But once you see the glint of the chains you now have a choice. From time to time I forget about choice.
So moral of the story?
I realized that I am the elephant.
If I believe I can't, then I can't.
If I believe I can, then I can.